Just this last Saturday, I attended the annual Laguna Beach AAUW Literary Luncheon. In the photo above are Kim Salter, (left), and Veronica Nice of the American Association of University Women-Laguna Beach standing with authors Anne Cherian, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, myself, and Nina Revoyr.
We all had 12 minutes to speak to the crowd after a very lovely lunch. Sarah was the funny one. Anne was very Berkeley-ish. Nina talked of the untold personal histories in California, which was where she found her latest story, and I spoke about what I would say to grandmother if she was still alive.
Because sometimes when I'm writing, I wonder what it would be like to ask her what she thinks about the name of my new main character. Or why she chose the name Jeff for hers in Chrysalis of Death. Was it because of Jeff, my Aunt's son who lives in Australia? Or did she just like the name? And when she used the name Ann in one of her short stories, was that because it was my mother's name? And what about the personal growth the main character makes in her second book? Was that what she wanted for herself, but couldn't quite reach?
In so many places in her writing, I see parts of her real life. They are like left-over fragments of her, like the petals of a flower that have fallen on the sidewalk.